UCL Research Domains


Public Engagement

Public Engagement

The UCL Neuroscience Domain is committed to engaging and involving the public and patient groups with our science. Our neuroscientists take part in a wide variety of engagement activities, including delivering public lectures, hosting patient open days, collaborating in innovative art-science projects, visiting schools and specialist groups, plus many more.

UCL neuroscientists, UCL staff/students and members of the public:

  • Do you have a great idea for a neuroscience public engagement project?
  • Would you like to collaborate on a project with a UCL neuroscientist?

UCL neuroscientists:

  • Do you need help writing a public engagement grant or advice planning an event?
  • Do you need media/communications/public engagement training or advice?
  • Do you want to publicise your research?

If you answered 'yes' to any of these questions please contact the UCL Public Engagement unit.

  • What is public engagement?
  • Why is it important?
  • How do I get involved?
  • How can I fund my project?
  • How do I involve patients in my research?

The websites listed below can help answer these questions and many more, and offer invaluable advice aimed specifically at university researchers interested in taking part in public engagement activities.

UCL Public Engagement Unit

Includes Toolkits for Engagement (practical advice about choosing the right type of activity for your audience, planning and evaluating your event etc)

National Co-ordinating Centre for Public Engagement

Funded by the four UK Funding Councils, Research Councils UK and the Wellcome Trust the NCCPE helps inspire and support universities to engage with the public.

RCUK Public Engagement with Research

Includes the Concordat for Engaging the Public with Research - a statement of expectations and responsibilities of research funders in the UK regarding public engagement

Support with PPI for researchers

The BRC supports researchers with patient and public involvement (PPI) and has a dedicated PPI manager. Support includes:

  • Training - They run workshops on PPI, including introductory sessions and sessions on setting up a patient group. We also run introductory sessions for patients and the public. Information about training workshops can be found on the Joint Research Office website.
  • Bursaries  - They have a PPI bursary fund to help researchers carry out PPI. For more information go to the BRC news pages.
  • Advice - Researchers can ask for advice by contacting the PPI manager Dr Rosamund Yu on Rosamund.yu@ucl.ac.uk or by writing to our helpdesk ppihelpdesk@ucl.ac.uk

British Science Association

  • Media Fellowships - These fellowships are intended to create a greater awareness and understanding of the workings of the media among practising scientists, social scientists, clinicians and engineers. Scientists shadow journalists for a period of 3-8 weeks
  • Communication Training - The BSA provide science communication skills training for scientists, students and doctors and can design and deliver training courses specific to you or your group needs

The Royal Society

  • Pairing Scheme - Scentists are paired with either an MP or civil servant and the Royal Society supports them by arranging a 'Week in Westminster' and reciprocal visits

The Science Media Centre

  • The centre produce a variety of useful publications designed specifically with scientists in mind, including How Science Works (pocket-sized guides for scientists that list effective ways of talking within the context of a short interview about generic issues that span all sciences) and Top Tips for Media Work

Wellcome Trust

  • Narrative Skills Workshop - Free communication and engagement training is available for all Wellcome Trust research grantholders and their group members

Royal Society Partnership Grants

Up to £3,000 for science projects run at a primary or secondary school  or college in partnership with a professional scientist or engineer

Wellcome Trust Public Engagement Awards

  • Arts Award - Up to £30k for innovative art projects that investigate biomedical sciences. Offered four times a year
  • People and Society Award - People Awards and Society Awards are two related schemes supporting projects that encourage the public to explore biomedical science, its impact on society and culture, its historical roots or the ethical questions that it raises.
  • Science Media Studentships - Studentships for practising biomedical scientists to undertake a postgraduate qualification in Science Media Production at Imperial College London and to follow this with a six-month placement working in the broadcast industry

UCL Public Engagement Funding

The Public Engagement Unit helps UCL staff and research students find funding from external organisations for projects that will make groups outside the University more involved in UCL research and teaching.

They also run three funding streams to promote innovation in public engagement activity across UCL, and to support UCL staff and students to share their research outside of the university environment.

  • Step Out funding of up to £750 is available to UCL students. The fund is constantly open to applications.
  • Beacon Bursaries are normally available three times a year, and provide up to £2000 per project.
  • Train and Engage provides training and grants of up to £1000 for postgraduate students across UCL. The training aims to help students develop their ideas for activities that open up their research and practice to involve people beyond the context of the university. Grants are available to students' to turn their ideas into practice.

British Library Collaboration

  • Are you an early career researcher at UCL?
  • Are you interested in the art and/or science of memory?
  • Would you like to get some hands-on experience in public engagement?

The British Library and the UCL Neuroscience domain are inviting ideas for a contribution to a public event taking place in October 2015 on the theme of memory. We are seeking ideas for a breakout activity to take place during the interval of the main stage show.

If you would like to take part and have an idea, download the submission form below and complete and return it to candice.lewis@ucl.ac.uk by Friday 3rd July.

Submission form (pdf)

Proteintech Blog Competition

Proteintech have launched a competition to find young research scientists who have a flair for scientific writing. If you want to have your work published on their blog, and win a £25 Amazon gift voucher in the process, then make sure you take part! As well as the voucher prize, winning the competition would look great on your CV to potential employers.

This is an ongoing competition with no closing date


Become a STEM Ambassador. STEM Ambassadors are people from Science, Technology, Engineering and Maths (STEM) backgrounds who volunteer as inspiring role models for young people.

They can contribute both to regular lessons or participate in extra-curricular activities such as STEM Clubs, Careers Days and visits


An email discussion forum for all topics relating to public communication of science and public engagement with science. In addition, details of event